Practice on a few inexpensive ones first!! You can do it!
Start with some of those beater/cheaper knives that Jon has. For me, using a Sharpie, working slowly, and concentrating on the amount of pressure I used and my sharpening motion really helped me improve.
And always remember - there's nothing that you can do to your knife that Jon can't fix! Good luck! YOU CAN DO IT!!!
"Don't you know who he is?"
I'm sure everyone was scared there first time. I'm still very new but I have done it before and taken dave's class and am still scared to sharpen, mostly due to screwing up beautiful kasumi finishes on my shiges with scratches. But it's all part of the experience, I'd rather have ratty looking knives that are sharp then some dull ones that are flawless looking. Of course eventually I hope to be able to have the best of both worlds.
nooooo I'm not scared anymore!
I will give it a shot today (or Friday), and I will be a better sharpener than Jon! Then I'll be his "horrible boss"! (this idea - I'll be better than Jon right away - might not be a good sign for being patient for sharpening)
It's ok, I don't think that idea can really last all that long given where you are. I remember struggling with a knife for something like 10 minutes at JKI once. Jon came over and fixed the issue in literally one swipe. You really get an appreciation of your newbie-ness, lol.
i went ahead and thinned my Kochi, and got magic (I had chipped it and never fixed it, really, so this was the real fixing), so if I can do it with a half broken hand, anybody can start.
I'll finish any blades that are started but can't be finished, for the cost of postage, and the promise of a beer if I ever show up there.
* this is not an advertisement, and I don't really want your knife. This is only for stuff that is half done and nobody else will take, and you are a regular.
My first time sharpening I went with crappy knives and it went very well. Since I've introduced stropping and I seem to end with a dull edge. I think I'm folding the burr over.